This page is about exotic tribal influences in fashion.
This trend has been popular
through the noughties decade, and emerges in a newer form
each season. Ethnic inspired fashion designs
had a huge following when the line was called Boho, but now this has
morphed into a style which has evolved into world fashion tribal
This year all the high street shops have items that are
tribal based, but one of the best places for an instant fix on
fashion tribal decoration is a visit to Accessorize/Monsoon. You can find Monsoon
and Accessorize online or in most UK city high streets.
This Monsoon campaign
fashion shot above right marries east
with west where the main elements combine traditional decoration
and global world touches. Exotic Indian Ocean and Japanes looks vie with
Pueblo or Navajo Indian patterns.
Full details of image above right - All items from Accessorize Spring / Summer 2009. Tulum
chandelier earrings £9/15.50, Deco crest necklace £14/24,
Pebble thong necklace £10/17, Snake & turquoise necklace
£8/13.50, Bead flower necklace set (x2) £8/13.50, Folk print chiffon Kaftan
£35/59, Thread wrapped bangle set (x6) £7/12, Indian bangle
set (x12) £4/7.
Far Right - Tribal decoration necklace Accessorize - High Summer 2009
World tribal fashions recreate the exotic touches found in eastern
and far eastern fabrics and weaves. Such ideas use colours such
as hot pinks, aquamarine, rust and black with woven and metallic
borders. They conjure up innovative contrasts with wispy exotic
silken looks set against homespun artisan features.
Colour combinations utilise traditional schemes that include
semi precious stone colours of turquoise and coral, garnet and
Cleverly, these overtones often get mixed with American
Indian or Mexican influences and the audacity of African prints
intended to compete with a hot burning sun. Suddenly the
items are the embodiment of the global melting pot and the
result is a dramatic and innovative often carefree, but
sometimes sophisticated style.
Right - Tribal print dress chocolate/cream shift dress from
Oli, £39 Cat: 79B 210 B9A - Oli Spring Summer 2009.
Left - Kerala bandeau dress £25/42, Flower fringed bag
£40/68,Sanguine floral earrings £4/7, Mosaic paisley square
scarf £15/25.50, Trinket floral necklace £14/24,
Designer flower ring £15/25.50, Kashmiri painted bangle £6/10,
Plain wooden bangle £5/8.50, Kashmiri painted bangle set (x2)
£8/13.50, Tash friendship bracelet set (x5) £8/13.50.
The Monsoon fashion retailer name has always been seen in the UK
as a name that stands for fashion which is a bit
different and ethnic inspired. This summer 2009 season is no different, and
their collections traverse the textiles found in the Indian deserts
of Rajasthan, to the romance of
Eastern Europe folkloric roses.
Along the way the fashion
is influenced by tribal decorations found in the foothills of
Guatemala and also swirling paisley cornucopias.
Even further afield, Monsoon takes inspiration from modern
Japan and Polynesia to create a kaleidoscope of bold
colour and pattern. As always their collection is ultra-feminine and this
season moves through world cultures and continents using colour,
texture and print for maximum effect. Their versions encompass
Asian Safari and African influences and textiles
Other high street retailers like Wallis and stores Marks and
Spencer, House of Fraser and NEXT also have pieces which capture
the tribal zeitgeist.
Left - Rajasthan inspired paisley beaded tunic with
world tribal decoration £77/120 - Wallis Spring
The word 'ikat' is derived from the Malay word 'mengikat',
meaning to bind or tie and was used in tie-dye techniques. It
can also be used as a woven pattern. Generally ikat patterns are
of vibrant colour.
It's not just ikat, zig zag or exotic frond like fern
patterns that feature, this Monsoon tunic centre plays on the
use of the sun-catcher circle motif so familiar in ethnic work.
Above Right - Fringed stole scarf from Accessorize Spring Summer 2009. Dakota multi Navajo
Ikat Stole £18 (30.5 Eire).
Wallis tunic dress left is also heavily textured with metallic
Meanwhile, this Kaftan fantasy print dress, near right by Orion London,
plays on colour in a similar way to that used in American Indian pieces.
Right - Adana Top £45 / 76 Monsoon Spring/Summer 2009 - Main
Range. Centre - Orion London - Fantasy Dress, spring trend 2009.
The colourations of exotic tribal fashion are varied, but each
is recognisable and falls within the related looks shown on this page.
You will notice the similarities of earth tones, dirty rust
reds, ochre, black and turquoise as well as the softer
pinks and aquamarines.
World Tribal style often combines forms of folkloric
craftwork by playing on graphic iconography associated with 'One
The original concept of 'One World' fashion was to showcase
traditional costume from every continent in the World.
In this instance African,
American Indian, Eastern and east European (Romance) patterns
all blend creating the symbolism of motifs and colours that
comprise this fashion trend. Earthy tones such as those
found in natural leathers always look correct against other
The world tribal fashion look frequently exaggerates ikat,
and grid based mosaic designs, bizarre stylised motifs, fringe,
braid and earth tones.
These two examples of garments illustrate Native American
influences in a more everyday way than the dreamier examples
latter exhibits greater homage to the eastern exoticism of
Thailand or India.
Left - ASOS.com - Ric-Rac Trim Full Skirt £34.26 and also
available in petite.
Above Right - NEXT Spring Summer 2009 - Womenswear - Wigwam
Embellished Top £25/36.
This tribal theme also lends itself to easily constructed peasant style dresses,
which are perfect
for the beach and casual days. Such dresses are made from tiers
of mosaic grids, border prints or naive
stripe fabric designs.
The dresses illustrated here feature earthy rust tones of
brick red clays and yellow ochre sands of the desert.
These simple styles left are also very easy for the dressmaker
or crafter to make.
Left - Two dresses from Benetton's Spring Summer 2009 Collection.
The dress far right has an African feel to the print.
Near Right - Border prints are especially effective when used to
make empire line dresses. This yellow border print dress and
Santorini hat is from the Plumo Summer 2009 Collection.
Far Right - Aztec mosaic pattern dress T69 4631 £39.50 - In
Marks & Spencer store from April 2009. The
blue/gold/black dress uses variety of scale within the border
print to create areas of interest at bodice and hem level.
Accessories offer the greatest scope for exploiting the many
differences and craft skills between nations. Shoes, bags,
bangles, necklaces and scarves all get the One World treatment
and beads embellish all these tribal accessories.
Turquoise stones, fake or real, get tribal fashion production
moving through south-western looks to artefacts of pure tribal fantasy. Mammoth dress rings and necklace collars raid a costume history
as far ranging as the Mid-West to Egypt. The fringe is exotic and
used in leather goods, garments and also earrings like these
below left. But with these tribal accessories the colour story is similar and
never veers from strong, bold
and statement making pieces.
Left - Embellished stone disc ring £12. 18 Euros - Navajo
collection - Freedom at Topshop
Centre - Tribal decoration Navajo embellished collar £40 from Freedom at Topshop.
Right - Dakota multi Pocahontas Earrings
£8 (13.5 Eire) Accessorize Spring Summer 2009.
work can be found on folksy bags, or metal discs are the
alternative and used in the
necklace bib collars below. Such pieces have Afghan/Balinese overtones.
This bib shaped seed bead necklace, and oval teardrop earrings,
centre below, feature softer contrast colours instead of the stronger
orange/coral and turquoise tones shown above.
Left - New Look - Necklace £6 Spring/Summer 2009 Collection
Centre and Right - Earrings and Bib Necklace from Accessorize Spring Summer 2009
The folkloric themes of the last season has combined with
ikat and zig zag mosaic patterns to create fresh lively shoes
designs ripe with rich embellishment and colours that sing. The
key to wearing footwear like this is not to overdo the rest of
your outfit. These sandals and shoes are statement making pieces in
Left - Helga Sandal Boot £55 at Office - Spring Summer 2009
Centre - Accessorize Spring Summer 2009 Dakota
multi Navajo Sandal £35 (59 Eire).
Right - Matalan Footwear - Cairo beaded platform £22 SS09.
Below - Accessorize Spring Summer 2009 - Left to Right -
Flower tassel bag £40/68, Summer folk bag £30/51, Boho across
body bag £34/58, Flower fringed bag £40/68, Drawstring pouch
bag £25/42 (Eire).
One of the fastest ways to add 'One World' tribal elements to
your wardrobe is to buy a decorated bag.
Tribal decorated bags make
great accessories; furthermore, they can be any one of an infinite number
of styles moving through folkloric and florals, to mosaic and ikat
Fringe is a popular finish on leather bags, but on
cloth bags, braids and beads are used to create vibrant works of
art. These bags mix folkloric embroidery, print or appliquι, wood, plaiting,
beading, and fringe. And if these vibrant looks are too
jazzy for you, consider this monochrome bag in black and white
which is a little more subtle.
All of these bags are perfect as summer carry-alls on bright
Right - Accessorize Spring/Summer 2009 Sanguine patterned Dakota
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